I was reading a article in the Blind Perspective by Alice Massa about rules for giving a good speech. She made the point that even blind individuals must practice eye contact or imagine the audience and speak to them.
As a speech pathologist , I would work with low vision and blind individuals to have them face a visual speaker.
My clients would ask ‘Why do I have to make an effort to look at a in the direction of a speaker?”. I would give them three reasons to make accommodations for a visual person.
#1 The visual speaker is used to being looked at in the face. Many blind turn their head to hear the person. They think they are facing the speaker but they are looking to the side. This is distracting to the visual person. Training the blind person to locate the voice with equal volume in both ears will assure that you are looking in the direction of the face of the speaker.
#2. Some blind have what is referred to as restless eyes. The eyes jitter, roam and even may roll back to show the whites of the eye. If a person has this condition, It is better if the blind person wears darken glasses. They should still work on facing a speaker with the technique outlined in number 1.
#3. When speaking to more that one individual, The blind should learn to shift their facial direction to face the current speaker. This is normal for speakers with vision.
I have been asked,”Why bother? They should accept me as I am!” I will agree with them and point out what is more important? Not bothering to make an accommodation to the visual and not getting their conversation across. Or, having the attention of your listeners. We ask for reasonable accommodation for ourselves, Why can’t we think that others may need help to listen to us, the blind?
No it’s not fair and life is lopsided when it comes to presenting yourself to others. A little practice will improve your conversation skills and improve accepting the blind in groups.
The best compliment I received was,”You are looking right into my eyes. Are you sure you don’t see?”
Cicero , in 106 B.C. Said”Eyes are the mirrors to the soul, reflecting everything hidden and like a mirror reflect the person spoken to.” Who wouldn’t want to use such a powerful tool when talking to others?
They roamed the fields together,
The sky was full of stars.
He met her at the gate.
As he lifted up the bar.
Gazing with love at each other
A love they could not disavow.
But he was just a hired hand.
And she… a Jersey cow.
unknown Scottish author